Hurricane Jova gathers strength as it moves toward western Mexico

Hurricane Jova was about 260 miles southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, early Monday, moving at about 8 mph an hour.

Hurricane Jova was about 260 miles southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, early
Monday, moving at about 8 mph an hour.

Hurricane Jova gathered strength early Monday as it churned
toward western Mexico, sending emergency officials scrambling to open shelter
and coordinate with local governments.

The storm grew to a Category 2 late Sunday, carrying maximum sustained winds
of 100 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center in Miami. It was about
260 miles southwest of the tourist haven on Manzanillo, moving at about 8 mph an
hour, the center said.

Forecasters warned the hurricane would continue to gain strength over the
next two days, making an anticipated landfall by Tuesday evening.

A hurricane watch is in effect from Punta San Telmo north to Cabo Corrientes,
Mexico.

“Our main concern is the welfare of the population,” Trinidad Lopez, civil
protection director in the state of Jalisco, said. “We’re doing everything in
our power to protect people.”

At least 100 shelters were open Sunday for people who could be affected by
the storm, Lopez said. Food, cots and blankets have been distributed, he
said.

Heavy machinery has also been pre-positioned in strategic locations
throughout the state, Lopez said.

Mexico is providing federal assistance, as well. More than 300 soldiers have
been deployed and the Marines in Puerto Vallarta are on alert, Lopez said.

A tropical storm watch also is in effect in an area near Punta San Elmo,
stretching south toward Lazaro Carenas.

Mexico’s National Meteorological Service warned boaters off the country’s
Pacific coast to prepare for increasing rains, waves and winds.

High surf warnings are also in effect, with forecasters warning swells will
strike Mexico’s southwest coast later in the day Monday.

“These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current
conditions,” the hurricane center said.

The states of Michoacan, Colima, Jalisco and Nayarit will likely see
significant rainfall, the meteorological service said.

From Rafael Romo, Senior Latin American
Affairs Editor
October 10, 2011 — Updated 0625 GMT (1425 HKT)
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